Fourth-down conversions work for Whitehouse

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Nov. 17, 2007 - MESQUITE - Sulphur Springs and Whitehouse combined for 12 punts on Friday as coaches tried to take advantage of field position, especially in the face of a strong southern wind.

Whitehouse coach Randy McFarlin called timeout with two seconds left in the first period to force SSHS to punt into the wind. The strategy didn't pay off, though because the Wildcats held on the next possession.

The end of that possession was the only time in four tries that Whitehouse was not successful on a fourth-down conversion. Sulphur Springs was 1-for-2 on fourth-down tries.

PENALTY ADVANTAGE - The two teams combined to snap the ball 114 times in the game, and Whitehouse never had a penalty in those plays. They were flagged once by the Tyler chapter officials, and that was a 5-yarder when a kickoff bounced out of bounds. ... The hardest call to stomach for Wildcat fans and coaches was the dual-possession catch by Jeff Beck in the fourth quarter that was ruled an interception by Whitehouse. ... Sulphur Springs was hit with four penalties for 25 yards, and two of them were crucial. An illegal motion penalty negated a first-down run by Brittan Diamond midway through the first quarter and Sulphur Springs then had to punt. Then, an illegal motion penalty negated a 39-yard TD reception by Jace Jackson late in the second quarter. The Wildcats had to settle for a 29-yard field goal by Oscar Marroquin. ... Jackson caught four passes for 63 yards, including a diving, over-the-shoulder, 28-yard reception in the first quarter.

PASSING GRADE - The Wildcats defensed eight passes, three by Bryant "Day Day" Jackson, two by Brittan Diamond and one each by Dalton Abner, Darrell Franklin and Rodney Evans. ... Junior safety Johnny McSheffery's interception gave him five the season, tying him with Bryant Jackson for the team lead. Combined with Josh Dunn's pick, the Wildcats ended the season with 21 interceptions. ... Marroquin hit 6-of-8 field goals this season, two shy of the school record. ... Chris Thompson caught his 12th TD pass of the season in the fourth quarter, setting a new school record. ... All of the numerous school records set this season will be in Wednesday's edition of the News-Telegram.

BLOCKING ART - Sophomore Shane McQueen made a diving block of Whitehouse's first PAT attempt, then 6-6 Colton Nash got his hands on another PAT try. ... The Wildcats sacked Whitehouse quarterback Brady Attaway four times, by Tyler Francis, Jayden Wallace, Brittan Diamond and Nash. ... Whitehouse (10-1) will play West Mesquite (8-3) in the area round of the playoffs next weekend. West Mesquite beat Lake Dallas 35-28 on Friday. ... Mount Pleasant, the third-place team in District 11-4A, lost to Kilgore, 17-14. Texas High and Marshall were scheduled to play at 2 p.m. today in Tyler.

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